Firefighters at the scene of a deadly fire on in New York last December. A bill that passed the U.S. Senate last week would create a voluntary database of firefighters who contract cancer. The House approved a similar version of the bill last year. (David Dee Delgado/The New York Times)

Bill would create firefighter database aimed at reducing cancer rates

Brown calls on House to quickly pass legislation after it sails through Senate.

A bill that would create a voluntary database of firefighters across the country who contract cancer is awaiting House action after the Senate approved it last week without even a floor vote.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, co-sponsored the Senate bill along with Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. The House version’s co-sponsors include Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth. Renacci is running against Brown in this year’s Senate race.

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The idea behind the bill is that the data would allow health officials to determine how to reduce or prevent cancer rates among firefighters. The bill would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop the registry and make certain it is up to date.

Brown urged the House to move quickly on the legislation, which has widespread bipartisan support. The House passed a similar bill last year but will have to approve it again because of some minor alterations made in the Senate.

“We should use all of the tools at our disposal when it comes to cancer prevention and treatment of first responders who sacrifice their own safety to protect others,” Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement. “I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this legislation, so that we can get this bill to the president’s desk.”

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